Boatwif Blog

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Back to boating…

Home moorings to Middlewich: 37 miles, 48 locks Cleddau is heading south (down the Macc), then north (down the Trent and Mersey) then east and north again along the Bridgewater Canal. No new waters and no great adventures are planned, but all being well there may be a new terra firma location to visit… In previous years exciting watery trips (crossing the Ribble and the Wash, cruising down the tidal Severn, doing the tidal Thames) have been enjoyed alongside the...

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Feasts, treats and reunions

Of all the many Boris announcements these past umpteen months none was greeted with more enthusiasm than this one on June 28th this year: The 30-person limit on weddings will be removed in England from June 21, despite step four being delayed. That means there will be no numerical limit on either receptions or ceremonies – either indoors or outdoors. Instead, capacity limits will be the highest number of people venues can accommodate while still being Covid-secure. Yippee – WhatsApp...

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When you can’t help but read it

Conversation during childhood breakfasts was not encouraged: there were four girls to be got out of the door and dispatched on their way to school. There’s a lingering memory though of cereal packets and sauce bottles on the kitchen table that provided reading practice during those time-pressured meals. Is that the reason that words, either singly or in phrases, still tend to draw Boatwif’s eye? Canal and River Trust estimate that there are over 34,000 narrow boats on the UK...

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We thought you’d gone for good…!

“We thought you’d gone for good!” said a mooring neighbour at Victoria Pit the day after Cleddau had returned from her Round Britain Round the North West / North Midlands travels… Well, the boat had been gone for 42 nights… (Map 1 is the northern area covered, map 2 the southern area covered. Red arrows indicate outbound route from Vic Pit; blue arrows the inbound route from Stourport-on-Severn).      On Sunday evening about a dozen boats were moored at...

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Familiar places, familiar faces

Sometimes, however early you start, you are not ‘the early bird that gets the worm…’ There were lots of other boats moored between Barlaston and Wedgwood on Thursday evening, the majority with bows pointing northwards, towards Stoke-on-Trent. As the Captain untied the ropes at 0810 on Friday morning to head the quarter of a mile or so to Trentham Lock a big boat chuffed by. Cleddau cruised under Bridge 104 at Wedgwood – and all three of the boats that...

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As is customary…

While moored at Tixall Wide for a couple of days there were some customary things to be done…  A stroll through Great Haywood for instance. There are usually some decorative features in this well-cared for village. The Clifford Arms pub draws attention to its beer garden with crocheted strands suspended from the garden railings,    while further up the street the wicker baskets of two bicycles clamped to the walls of a cottage are bright with summer bloom. It was...

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Signposts ticked!

These final downhill miles of the Staffs and Worcs Canal have been completed in two hops, first from Penkridge to Stafford and then from Stafford to Tixall Wide, from where it is a 20 minute stroll beside a last watery mile to Great Haywood Junction. It was still half term week and there were many hire boats about. With the sunshine the holiday mode had set in; at Penkridge Lock two crew members (mother and teenage daughter) worked their locking...

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From Collection to Collectible…

From Cleddau’s mooring near Wightwick Bridge (western outskirts of Wolverhampton) it was but a five-minute walk to the National Trust site of Wightwick Manor. Two of the Cheshire Three had driven south to meet for a picnic lunch, a visit to the Manor and a stroll around the gardens.  The Manor is a very short walk from the car park.    Exactly when had this been built – and had it at some time been extended? Was it Proper Tudor...

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Just lookin’

   Cleddau’s first trip into Stourport-on-Severn was back in 1994. Boat and crew had come up the river from the Avon (from Evesham, joining the Severn at Tewkesbury) to be met by an acquaintance of Senior Sis and Salty. There is little memory of that first excursion up the offset Stourport narrow staircase locks but some recall of the Clock Warehouse, of a raft of hire boats and a lengthy anecdote about badly behaved lads creating canal havoc on a...

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Right – or left?

A Friday night mooring in an urban or semi-urban area is not generally a good idea – but it was a case of needs must… A mooring stretch (on the southern end of the Shropshire Union) after the M56 proved hard to identify, an attempt at bringing the boat alongside some metal piling failed as there was insufficient water depth – and with the Captain protesting loudly into the constant downpour “I WANT TO GO HOME!” a mooring spot was...

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